Thursday, July 31, 2008

My new addiction

is 'Last Choir Standing' on BBC1 on Saturday evenings and last week I love, love, loved 'Revelation'.


You don't get much of that passion around these parts - but to me it just sent shivers down my spine.
It is one of my biggest bugbears that I can't sing - really, really, can't sing.
And I wish I could get singing and dancing with this crowd - amazing.

Thinking of Siobhan

Are you one of those people who always, always reads the dedications in books and wonders what the story is?
Rainy Days and Tuesdays is dedicated to my friend, and former deputy editor, Siobhan McEleney.
Siobhan died almost three years ago, at the age of 47, leaving behind four beautiful daughters and a heartbroken family. It's fair to say that life in the Derry Journal has never been the same since she left us.
Today would have been Siobhan's 50th birthday (and she would have been raging that I'm telling you that).
Anyway, Siobhan pushed me on in so many ways - encouraging me to write, to find a voice, to get a book out there. I started writing Rainy Days and Tuesdays shortly after her death - her last words to me echoing in my ears: "Write something good for me".
Even now it's hard to believe she is gone - and when I walk into our office I still expect to see her at her desk. I still hear her voice echo around these walls and hear her encouragement when I need it (and bollocking when I need it too - she wasn't afraid to put you in your place if you deserved it).

So today, I'm pausing for a moment and remembering Siobhan and the strange twists of fate which bring us where we need to go.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Buy one... get one free

As a (weak) apology for not posting so much lately, here's a wee meme, stolen from Penelope.
I thought it was a leetle bit different.

I want to: take a deep breath, accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative
I want to make a difference to people I care about.
I want to think: a bit like Pollyanna and not always expect the worst.
I want to learn: all the words to 'American Pie' without having to use makey up words half way through.
I want to see: my dreams come true
I want to try: ski-ing, at some stage
I want to tell: the world my secret, which is apparantly the worst kept secret ever as my brother's ex guessed it and I've not seen her in about seven years!
I want to touch: the cool fresh sheets on my bed and have a wee sleep
I want to smell: nothing. I am nauseated.
I want to feel: as confidant as I make people think I am. (and I stole that answer from Penelope as it is just the same as mine)
I want to stop: worrying all the time.
I want to let go of: the paranoia which gets on my proverbials.

Right - back to business

I've just had two weeks off work. Not a fun kind of two weeks mind - two weeks of sick leave where I've been lying on the sofa watching Sex and the City and Doris Day movies which, admittedly, sounds kind of fun.
But I've also been sick and on proper doctor's orders to rest up and everything.
So yes, the blogging has suffered (says you, "It has suffered for the last month. You fly by night blogger who is no longer reliable") and for that I apologise. But I'm back at work today - feeling a little shaky and a little nervous and wondering how I'm going to manage without my mid afternoon snooze on the sofa.
I'm also back to the business of writing.
Book three - c'est finis in first draft form but now I'm hitting the rewrites already before submitting and I'm also starting book four.
Now what I need is a really kooky name for my MC in book four. I would have gone with Lola but Marian Keyes has done that already in 'This Charming Man' but I need something young, funky, vibrant and that would suit a 31 year old control freak.
Answers on a postcard - or blog comment below!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

C'est finis

At 106,000 words - with a last line that actually made me cry - my third book 'Jumping in Puddles' was finished tonight.
There will be more work on it, before it hits the shelves (that's if Poolbeg accept it and agree to publish it - oh yes, they are allowed to say no, even now, after a year of hard work).
But this is my moment to sit back, cry and feel accomplished.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Oh, and in the spirit of my brain not working...

... and me posting links from blogs which have been my laugh, please enjoy this from Karen, a librarian and writer and general book friendly person.
I guarantee it will raise a smile!

The Wheels on the Bus Have Fallen Off

And it's almost, almost there...

Book three - almost done.
Be still my heart. I know what it happening now and when as I hit the last 5000 words. I just need to write the damn thing and hope it doesn't come across as fake or cheesy.
Still... nearly done... just a little further

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Weird dreams you have approaching a book launch...

Okay so the countdown is on to the release of my second book which is called FEELS LIKE MAYBE and is really, really very good.
The official release date, according to Amazon in August 25 - with it filtering out to the shops in the week after that.

As with al great events in life once you start thinking about something a lot you start to have weird dreams about it.
Last night I dreamt Feels Like Maybe was launched in Villa Martin, Spain. The cast of Emmerdale (which I don't even watch) were there as guests of honour and Paula Campbell (Poolbeg boss lady and supermum) presented me with one of those toy rings you buy in the chemist for 99p as a thank you for my hard work. Oh, and she gave me a copy of my book signed by the local priest.
Now if that isn't an indication of just how fecked up my mind is, then I don't know what is.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It obviously a men in white coats kind of thing...

A while back I developed a rather unhealthy obsession with Dr Wilson from House aka Robert Sean Leonard. Now I've never found RSL attractive before - not even as a teenager when everyone and I mean EVERYONE in my class in an all girl convent school was mad about him after 'Dead Poet's Society' - but there is something about his deadpan humour against Hugh Laurie's devine House which makes me go weak at the knees.

Now for a long time I was fine with it - me and Wilson were getting along quite fine in our little fantasy world.

But now, House isn't on anymore on Channel 5 and my obsession has moved on. Now I'm a little late to the show with this one, but Patrick Dempsey as McDreamy in Grey's Anatomy is just divine.

I don't even mind watching Enchanted for the jillionth time (and it is a good film) just for that little scene where he makes Giselle angry and he's wearing a bathrobe and his chest hair is just peaking over... swoon.

How come every time I go to the hospital locally though, the doctors are not a bit as sexy?

Seems it's just not fair - but then again must remind myself that RSL and Patrick Dempsey are not actually real doctors but actors.

Although if they were real doctors there is a very high chance I would be a bigger hypochrondiac than I am already.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Okay - so here is (not quite) the deal

There is something going on in my personal life right - something fairly major that hopefully I'll be able to share with you all soon.
But at the minute I need as many good and positive vibes to wing their way to me.
If I've not been posting as much, or won't be over the next week, this is why. It's just that while this is happening I can't think of anything else.
It is there morning, noon and night. It doesn't go away.
So please, whatever you believe in, whatever way you have of sending good and positive vibes out there then please send them my way.
All donations gratefully received.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My so-called life

It's been hard to write about my life lately because nothing much has really happened.
Well, not much that is for public consumption anyway.
So I was thinking, if this was my dream life (and it's a nice life I have, by the way, just kind of uneventful) it would go something like this...

Hello darling reader, welcome to my blog post today.
I'm writing this from my day bed. Does that sound terribly glam? I hope so, because it is. Unfortunately it's a little too warm here today but thankfully George doesn't mind waving that big fan for me. He is such a darling!
Well, what to report? Can you believe it? The bidding war for my latest novel has reached epic proportions. They say there has never been anything like it before and there isn't likely to be anything like it again. One publishing house has told me "this is as near to perfection as it comes". I was a bit annoyed by the use of the word "near" but then opened another bottle of champers and forgot all about it.
George (Clooney, btw, in case you wondered) and I have chartered a private plane for later. We're off to meet with Brad and Ang and the twins. I'm going to be godmammy, isn't that delicious? I've ordered them a couple of cars and some diamonds for a welcome present. Not sure about the name Knox, but I'm sure it will grow on me.
When we're done with the babies, we're coming back to our island retreat. Westlife (don't mock!) are flying in later to perform a private concert and they have promised not to sing that Bye Bye Baby shite song. I'm going to join in for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" though - I've bought a big wig and everything. What fun!
Anyway, til tomorrow, stay classy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

45 rules of life

I read this post yesterday on Learning to Live with the Hassle and I loved it. (I also thought it a very Fionnuala type thing to post, so I'm getting in there first.

1. Life isn’t fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step. (Except when you're standing on the edge of a cliff)
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. (Or being jealous for that matter - cheesy as it sounds, everyone - even Jimmy Carr - has a redeeming feature)
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month. (This is the joke answer? Right?)
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck. (No, okay, I take back what I said about number 5 - this is the joke one)
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present. (What's done is done and what's won is one and what's lost is lost and gone forever - as Phil Coulter would say)
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry
13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about. (Or where they have been or where they are going.)
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, and wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, and then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness, except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything. (Except perhaps your best friend for not telling you about that ladder in your tights...)
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time. Sometimes it just takes a lot longer than you think it will.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of whom God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative--dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable. (And make it memorable in a good way)
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift

Okay be warned...

It's a picture of a big fecking scary fish.

I might have to avoid my own blog for a while now - just ya know, cos it's so scary.

Can you imagine the trauma of that fecker swimming up beside you while your out for a wee paddle with your rubber ring and arm bands?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Irrational fears I have had

I hate fish. I mean, I really, really hate fish.
They scare me with their scaly skin and beady wee eyes and feathery fins and they are not my friends.
Now I know that as a child I choked on a fishbone which required a mercy dash to A&E - but I have no conscious memory of that event so I can't really blame it for my phobia. But still, fish freak me out.
There is nothing as guaranteed to make my stomach flip in an act of stomach churning bokingness as a wee sliver of fish skin on a fish supper from the chippy. Except of course one of those dirty big plates of Paella the husband insisted on eating in Spain. Why anyone needs actual shells in their dinner is beyond me.
So today, at work, you can imagine my horror at seeing a story and indeed picture in our system of a 15 stone (FIFTEEN FECKING STONE) halibut caught in Donegal this weekend.
I feel all swoony and weak and yet my eye is drawn to the picture like a moth to a flame.
There is a reason I have a phobia of the sea and refuse to go further than ankle deep into Donegal's fine coastal waters and that is it.
I may need a wee lie down.
(If enough people ask, by the way, I will publish the picture)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Remember, remember the 12 of July

It's all gone very quiet round these here parts today.
The reason is that it is the 12th of July and official marching day of the Orange Order and public holiday largely celebrated by the Unionist community.
I don't like the 12th of July and there are reasons thus.
Everything closes down - even shops which only ever close on Christmas Day. They do this in case there is "trouble".
Which brings me to the second reason I don't like the 12th of July - sometimes there is trouble. Now there hasn't been trouble in a couple of years close to where I live - or at least the trouble there has been has been relatively low key. (Few burnt out cars, wee fecking hoods pegging stones).
But it's just the whole old fashioned, bigotry fired, flag waving, triumphalism of it all that really gets on my tits.
Yes, I get that a community has a right to celebrate dates which are important to them but this does, from my perspective, feel intimidating. The bang of the drum, the flying of the flag, the wee hoods (from both side of the community, I hasten to add) stood out in their respective Celtic or Rangers tops waiting for trouble.
The marching season is what reminds me that Northern Ireland really hasn't moved on that far at all.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Och aye the noooo!

Am very sorry not to have posted recently but was away in Scotland having a verily lovely time with my friend Vicki.
The weather mostly held out and we enjoyed some glorious sunshine - and some nice chats with and without the kiddiewinkles.
Have come back very tired, and nicely chilled and now am setting about the rest of my week.
All being well I pick up my new car tomorrow. Mr Allan has purchased me a lovely new (to us) Suzuki Liana and it's only three years old!
Considering the current car outside my house is 368 years old and I have to power it by running really, reall fast through the holes in the rusty bottom* I am excited. The new vehicle has power steering - the sheer luxury of it. I'll be all affected with myself and talking in a posh voice while I get used to the electric windows and ABS.
Knowing me I'll crash the fecker on the way home from the garage.
Anyway, will update more tomorrow when I'm not so utterly knackered but sorry for leaving y'all hanging.
If you want something worth reading, nip over to Keris' blog where she is posting gorgeous pictures of dream houses. She is also sharing my obsession with that new choir show on BBC One - and indeed the renditions of Shackles by two of the choirs. I agree with all she has said, so you might as well just read her stuff as my ability to form coherent sentences is fecked.

~Oh, and the OCD is back. Watching Big Brother tonight my only thought was "If I lived there, I would HAVE to clean that luxury bedroom." How do they live like that?

*Only very mild exaggeration, promise!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Sometimes, it's hard to be a woman

I’ve always considered myself a feminist. I am a woman, therefore I am in favour of the promotion of equal rights for women. It seems very much like a no-brainer for me.
Now I know there is a view out there that us feminists are scary creatures who don’t shave our armpits and wander about bra-less plotting ways to do away with the male sex. The truth is really quite different. For one, I do shave my arm pits and I need the structure of and support of a good bra. I’m not getting any younger and gravity is taking its toll.
And secondly I don’t hate all men - a select few drive me to distraction - but then again so do a select few women.
What feminism, to me, is about is women having rights to make choices. If we want to work, we work - but we get paid the same as our male colleagues for it. If we want to stay at home, we are supported to do so and our role as a mother is valued. It’s also about the most basic of human rights.
Without the feminist movement it would still be legal for rape to occur within a marriage. A woman would not be able to apply for a mortgage or credit without a male relative’s signature. We would not be able to control our fertility on our terms. We would not have access to education in the way we do now and it would still be acceptable for a male colleague to act inappropriately towards us and get away with it.
Again, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a no brainer that women - all women - should be in support of such rights. I don’t think it makes any of us hairy legged hippies who are expecting the unreasonable.
But still there are a lot of people who don’t like the word. There are also a scary amount of people out there who think that feminism won its battle in the 60s and 70s. An article I read this week showed that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Are you a fan of Dragon’s Den? Do you admire the great minds who dole out the money and business advice week in and week out? I have to admit I quite like it - it’s a bit of entertainment but when I read the comments of one of the judges, Theo Paphitis, this week the red mist descended. He commented that women "get themselves bloody pregnant and ... they always argue that they'll be working until the day before, have the baby, go down to the river, wash it off, give it to the nanny and be back at work the following day, but sure enough, their brains turn to mush, and then after the birth the maternal instincts kick in, they take three months off, get it out of their system and are back to normal".
Worse still is Sir Alan Sugar - you know that man we are all supposed to look up to who commented on legislation regarding asking women about their marital status or plans to have children saying: "You're not allowed to ask, so it's easy," said Sugar, "just don't employ them."
And they say the feminist cause is old hat? If you ask me it’s more relevant now than it ever was.
Further on in the article, which appeared in this week’s Guardian, it reported that rape convictions in Britain have plummeted from 33% in the 70s to just 5.7% today, and that the 14,000 rapes reported each year are thought to be the tip of the iceberg.
Women’s bodies are objectified now more than ever - and what is most worrying is that it seems we women are the one’s doing the objectifying. Each and every one of us, I imagine, has poured over the gossip mags commenting on how fat one celeb is and how thin another is. We comment on what they wear, if their tan is over done, their latest hair styles and the cellulite on their bodies as if it actually our business. It’s not, of course, but somehow we think it is.
We don’t do the same with men and there is not the same interest in the media in a man who has piled on the pounds or worn a less than flattering outfit. And while all this happening, the feminist movement is being pilloried or ridiculed or just pushed to one side not only by men but also by women. There is a real apathy out there to women’s rights which worries me and which should worry. I’m not suggesting we run out and burn our bras (as I’ve said, I need the support) but perhaps it is time we starting making our voice heard.
If Theo Paphitis and Alan Sugar have such an obvious anti-women attititude then do we really want them on our TV? Do we really consider that brand of mysgonist oafishness entertainment? Is it about time we started asking questions regarding the successful prosecution of rapists and abusers? Surely there is a reason numbers have dropped so dramatically and surely we have a right to know what that reason is. We also have an obligation to question a media which puts so much focus on a woman’s physical appearance.
Feminism isn’t done and dusted - not by a long shot. If anything, it is only just beginning.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Random songs from a newspaper office...

Was going to do Random Conversations today, but honestly most of what is said on a pre-publication day is unrepeatable.
But at least we are happy in our work. We like to have a wee sing on a Thursday. (Not in a Kumbaya, all round the campfire way - more in a random bursting into a line of a song now and again way).
Today we've had quite a few, most notable "My Lovely Horse" from Father Ted.
This has been followed by "All Kinds of Everything" by Dana - Derry's Eurovision winner and an occasional burst of "Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain" by Jason Donovan.
It's almost 4pm so just about time for our Inishowen editor to clap his hands together and sing the first line of "Summertime".

As I said, you don't have to be crazy to work here...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Nearly there...

Book three - I'm so close to finishing I can almost feel it!
I'm getting ready to finish that book, have a wee cry and smash a glass into the fire ala Kathleen Turner in "Romancing the Stone" (except that we cant light a fire due to a collapsing chimney incident and I can't drink at the moment). Pouring a half drunk glass of Diet Coke down the sink doesn't have the same class does it? Even if I am crying into the kitchen roll while I do it.
I promise I'll post more once I have that bloody thing finished - honestly.

So while we're waiting for normal service to resume, here's a book MeMe...

1) Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?
The new Cecelia Ahern - sorry Cecelia. I just disliked the last book so much I can't bring myself to try again. i'm assured "PS I Love You" is brilliant though and I might try it one of these days.

2) If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?
Rachel from Rachel's Holiday, Auntie Anna from my next book 'Feels Like Maybe' and Mags from Sharon Owens "Revenge of the Wedding Planner" and we would all have a liquid lunch in a nice city centre bar and laugh til we peed.

3) (Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for a while, eventually you realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?
Oooh this is a tough one. (Always mildly in awe of anyone who has written a book) but shamed as I am to admit it, because I've read it and think it is the most overrated book of all time it would have to be "Catcher in the Rye". Oprah recommended it and I bought it thinking Oprah could do no wrong. Turns out she can. It's rubbish and Holden Caulfield needs a good slap.

4) Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?
I tend to be honest about what I've read, or not, but I have a huge "to read" pile building up.

5) You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why?
Well, duh, Rainy Days and Tuesdays. One more reader always helps.

6) A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?
Rachel's Holiday, by Marian Keyes - the only book I've been able to reread over and over.

8) That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leather bound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.
I have had this dream! It's a pale blue room in an old house with huge bay sash windows, the frames painted white. I have floor to ceiling shelves in dark wood along one wall, filled with my favourite reads (and yes, I love Trade Paperbacks, so let's go with that!). On the opposite wall, there is an old fashioned fire place and decorating that wall are framed posters advertising my books.
There is a dark leather seat and footstool - just the one - where I sit and read and a music system is piped in. The room gets the light in the evening and no one else in the whole world is ever allowed in.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Summer, summer where for art thou summer?

It's raining again, but I've developed a bizarre stubborness against it.

I REFUSE to wear a coat. It's very childish and not at all helfpful but damn it, it's July. I reserve the right to leave my jacket in the car even if it does mean I'm walking into the office like a drowned rat.

My hair, which was cut and then straightened beautifully on Saturday has now gone into a poodle head formation not unlike that sported by Gail Platt in Coronation Street.

My feet, in my new silver pumps designed not to send me running for the chiropractor every three seconds, are saturated and squish when I walk.
It's JULY people. JULY. Just a dry day! It doesn't have to be particularly warm. It doesn't have to be hot. But for the love of God people can we get some dry? Just a little?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...